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I Have Alzheimer’s or Another Dementia
translate EXERCISE into ENJOYABLE MOVEMENT tai chi & yoga
I believe that many people get great benefit from exercise. I worked as a massage therapist for 20+ years treating chronic conditions and helping athletes regain free range of movement.
My training showed how massage encourages people to use their bodies to move, and while some of us have other conditions which prevent us from going to a gym, or doing cross fit training the human body was designed to move.
I started recording a movement class from public tv station and benefited immediately. They sessions are 23 minutes long, lead by a former dancer and she takes the class through continuous movements that come from ballet, pilates, yoga and tai chi.
I would like to buy the 2 dvd's and find someone locally to lead a class for people with dementia, Parkinson's, MS, cancer...it would be really fun.
Mimi always stresses the importance of exercise in relation to staying well while living with dementia. Many days I have had bed lock, unable to walk to road and back.
I let those days go and do some stretches while lying there, deep breathing, relaxation.
If mowing the lawn with a push mower is something you love - that qualifies. Dancing qualifies. raking leaves while listening to music. exercise classes to music some insurance pays for (Silver Sneakers is close to me). Swimming is fabulous. Hitting tennis balls against wall if not a volley with a friend. Putting. Gardening.
You also have muscle memory and tissue memory and cell memory. Movement stimulates the lymphatic system, increasing blood flow to organs and brain.
My dog insists I walk with her twice a day minimum, when I can not she lies on top of me waiting...enough to make me get up and go a little part of a good walk.
If you can NOT exercise in these traditional ways consider tai chi or beginner yoga classes. Dementia will not interfere with participating. Do stretching while in bed. Raise and lower your legs in bed. sit in a chair and stand again a couple times. I do this when on a tv lock down, during commercials I do leg lifts or a sit up or 2, stretch my arms and spine.
This is my discovery: too sore to move after doing the esmond-white classical stretching class on tv, I got in a hot tub with lavender bath salts to relax. I found I could do leg raises using my abdominals because the water floated my legs so no neck or back pain!
Was inspired by Backwards Aging movement classes on pbs and dvd. Love it. Keep strong to keep bones strong. My funny waddle gait has improved.
Don't know if it will slow progression. My focus now is living my happiest life and being of help to others, allowing others to help me, remembering how to be a good sport and so on.
But the word EXERCISE can sound to me like a commitment, a membership at a gym, more schedules and pressure. MOVEMENT is more agreeable, I can do movement while bird watching, or folding laundry.
It is not a bad chore on a to do list. Everyone has a body that wants to move. It will lift your mood and clear your mind, that is enough.